Christ Imitators Theological Musings

Social Media and Christian Living: Dos and Don’ts

The world wide web is a vast resource with a limitless amount of information and resources. It comes with many benefits, as well as dangers. Since the development of social media there has been an ongoing dialogue about its risks and benefits. Similar to any tool at our disposal, social media in and of itself is not evil, however how we use it determines its dangers or potential. 

The internet gave us access to everything; but it also gave everything access to us

James Veitch

In Ephesians chapter 4 and 5, Paul spends some time giving advice about Christian living. He includes instructions on how to live Godly lives, from how to respond to anger to avoiding deceitful people. These same principles can be applied when engaging in social media. 

Four Don’ts of Social Media

Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry

It can be tempting to vent out our frustrations online, but it likely poses more dangers than benefits. While studying for my licensing exam, I was surprised to learn about the concept of catharsis in psychology. Traditionally it was believed that venting our anger resulted in a reduction of anger, however research over the years has indicated the opposite. Venting can increase a tendency for aggressive behavior and is best avoided online. 

social media

Do not let unwholesome talk come out of your mouth

One of the easiest places to start a fight is online. Scroll through almost any comments section online and you are guaranteed to find a few unkind words. Sitting behind a laptop from the safety of our own home makes it easier to be cruel. Before writing something online, try to imagine the person sitting across from you. How might they respond to your words? What emotion do you anticipate they’ll feel? If you don’t feel comfortable saying the words face-to-face, then don’t write it online. 

Do not give in to greed

Social media shows a small segment of someone’s life. Most likely it is the part of their life they are proud to show off. The implication is that you’ll notice all the good things that are happening in their life, from birthday celebrations to career and family milestones. If you notice yourself becoming jealous, it’s probably a good indication that you need to disconnect from social media. Step away and reconnect with the good parts of your own life, such as family, friends, or favorite hobbies. 

Do not engage in sexual immortality

A sad reality is that the internet enabled the wide spread use and success of sexual immorality. Pornography and sex trafficking are two prime examples. The internet makes it easier to access pornography, whether intentional or unintentional. Social media can also be used for exploiting children and youth without proper parent supervision. Christians are responsible for what we share online as well as what we consume. Use discernment when clicking through random links and avoid content that could be detrimental to yourself or others. 

Four Dos of Social Media

Build each other up according to their needs

One of the great benefits of social media it that it gives us the opportunity to stay connected to one another. Friends and family that live across the world are only a click away. If you know someone in need of financial support you can send a small donation to help pay bills. We can create prayer groups online for those who are confined to their home for health reasons. You can write words of encouragement to someone you haven’t seen in years. All this and more is easily done through social media. 

Give Thanks

Gratitude is a great way to combat the temptations of greed. When God answers a pray go ahead and share it online. I witnessed one person write a gratitude post every single day for multiple years. Keeping a running log of God’s blessings in your life will also be a good encouragement on bad days. Further, research on gratitude has shown multiple benefits. 

Today I'm grateful

Be kind and compassionate to one another

Social media can be a platform for ministry and loving others well. Share an inspiring quote to lift each other up. Write congratulations or happy birthday when the opportunity presents itself. When someone sends you a cruel message, don’t rise to the bait, but rather respond with loving kindness. In other words, treat people online how you would want to be treated. 

Explore False Information

There is a lot of false information circling around online. Paul instructs the Ephesians to avoid being deceived by empty words and to expose what is done in secret. As in everything it is important to use discernment when consuming information. Share content that is in alignment with the truth and gently correct false information. Social media can be used to educate and equip ourselves and others. 

Additional Resources

The Ultimate Guide to Keeping Your Kids Safe Online with Parental Controls from BroadBand Search

The Ultimate Guide to Internet Safety from Internet Advisor

What is Digital Citizenship? – Guide for Parents from InfoTracer

Social Media Addiction Statistics from The Lanier Law Firm

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